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Mark warns one in ten people worry they can’t pay rent or mortgage this January

(January 08, 2014)

Mark has warned that one in 10 people in the North West fear they won’t be able to afford to pay the rent or mortgage at the end of this month, according to new research from the homeless charity Shelter released today.

Mark said: ‘The research carried out by Shelter reveals the extent to which household budgets are at breaking point in Preston and the North West.  More than one in three people in the North West expect to struggle or fall behind with their rent or mortgage this year.  In recent years, struggling families would have had to make the difficult decision between eating or heating their homes and now added to that, there is the very real threat of people losing the roof over their heads. 

‘I’m seeing more and more constituents who approach me when they are in dire financial circumstances because they have buried their head in the sand for too long and put off asking for help until they reach crisis point.  It’s understandable that as it gets tougher to pay all the bills, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.  I would strongly urge people who are worried about their housing costs to get help this month by visiting shelter.org.uk/advice or calling their helpline on 0808 800 4444.’

The research, based on a YouGov survey of over 4,000 British adults, suggests that millions of people across the country will be starting the New Year worried about whether we’ll be able to keep their home.

Shelter is warning that the ‘ostrich effect’ created as a result of feeling overwhelmed by money worries could put homes in the North West at risk this year if overdue rent or mortgage bills are put off until it’s too late.

The shocking findings revealed a worrying trend of people across the region unable to face up to their financial difficulties, with over one in four (26%) in the North West saying they’ve not opened post if they thought it was a bill or late payment reminder. An alarming one in five (19%) in the North West even admitted to putting it in the bin without opening it.

Across the country the research found that families are currently struggling the most, with over two thirds of rent or mortgage payers with children (70%) struggling or falling behind with their payments, compared to 63% of the general population of rent or mortgage payers. 

Liz Clare, a helpline adviser at Shelter, says: “One caller to the helpline arrived home to her rented flat to find the locks had been changed. She hadn’t realised that a court hearing had even taken place because she hadn’t felt able to open her post after falling into arrears with her rent.

‘We hear from people every day who are struggling, so you are not alone. Our message to anyone struggling to pay their rent or mortgage is that we’re on your side. Come to us for help early on for the best chance of keeping your home.’

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, says: ‘It’s a worrying sign of the times that so many of us are starting the New Year worried about how they’ll pay their rent or mortgage in 2014.  Unless they get help, some of the families struggling now could face the very real prospect of losing their home this year.

‘Despite recent discussion of an economic recovery, we know that a combination of high housing costs, wage freezes, and rising food and energy bills has created a nightmare scenario for many families that’s pushing them to breaking point.’

Shelter helps three million people a year with housing problems, through online, phone and face to face advice.  Rent or mortgage payments should always be the top priority over other bills to prevent people from losing their homes. For advice and top tips to avoid rent or mortgage arrears visit shelter.org.uk/advice.

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